For Designers,

Thirteen pieces of timeless advice given to M.Des (Strategic Design Management) students of National Institute of Design as a part of jury.

  1. Strategic Design is all about focus. Focus comes by saying deliberate NOs. Saying NO is hard for all sapiens. Use your technical (design) competence to show why a NO makes more sense than YES in the current context. Influence decision makers with your competence + character to prioritise NO over yes.
  2. Tightly hold on to your strengths and loosely hold on to your weakness. It is human to chase weakness to win it. Don’t do it. Amplify your strengths and play with it. Discard your weaknesses at all cost. This is how you acheive Wu Wei in life.
  3. As a designer, creative problem solving is your job. Love and live the problem. Solutions will emerge by itself when your love for problem deepens.
  4. Design is a collaborative sport. It can’t played solo. Don’t try to. You will fail. Working with other human beings is an integral part of your (and my) work, as a designer. Master this art deliberately. Success is inevitable.
  5. A designer's job is 24/7 by nature. 8/5 is not for us. We learn at all times and our learnings compound consistently. Don't stop this learning whatsoever.
  6. A curious mind has more questions than answers. No wonder your mind is always buzzing. Follow your questions with sanctity and it will lead you to answers.
  7. Embracing ambiguity and seeking clarity are the core mindsets of a designer. Everything we do in the name of design (hypothesis, process, explorations, experiments, systems, prototypes and evidences) is all about moving from chaos to clarity.
  8. Never look for things that don't work. Focus on all aspects (Good, Bad and Ugly) at all times. That is how your holistic thinking works.
  9. Design never ends. It is a continuous and an iterative process. Do just enough every time deliberately and always make it better in the next iteration.
  10. Move beyond the default human being in you. Start paying attention to human biases, distortions, fallacies, flaws, mistakes and slips. Let the default nature of human help you move beyond the default human inside you.
  11. Your ability to zoom in and zoom out is your super power. From a mere-mortal you become a maker just by harnessing this super power.
  12. You start with an objective. You use design process to arrive at outputs. You will check if the outputs bring in the strategic outcomes. OOO matters.
  13. To grow as a designer, work with insanely ambitious people. They will push you hard and make you discover a better version of yourself.

One last thing, because we work with and for human beings at all times, we tend to move into the philosophical realm effortlessly. But don’t forget that your main effect is to use your competence and solve problems creatively. Don't focus too much on the side effects and get carried away.

🥂 to designers!

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